Chasing Monkeys in Colombia for Nat Geo

Chasing Monkeys in Colombia for Nat Geo

Colorado-based DP and Director Danny Schmidt recently traveled to Colombia on behalf of National Geographic to obtain footage of the albino brown spider monkey. Equipped with a slew of video gear from Borrowlenses and a qualified crew, they had 8 days to gather the footage needed to tell the story of this beautiful and endangered species.  Chasing Monkeys in Colombia for Nat Geo by Danny Schmidt The Mission The world of wildlife filmmaking is full of unknowns. Will I see any animals? Will I capture interesting behavior? Will the weather cooperate? We generally go into the field equipped with the right gear, a lot of research, and a general willingness to suffer to get the shot. But beyond those things, we just hope that we actually see an animal when are cameras are rolling. On a recent trip to Colombia in search of albino brown spider monkeys, the odds were definitely not in our favor. There are only two (yes, two) of these albinos known to exist in the wild and we had a short window to find them and tell their story. Brown spider monkeys are critically endangered and their habitat is severely fragmented. This has caused genetic bottlenecking and, as a result, albinism in one of the family groups. These albinos are incredibly beautiful but they bring a pretty sobering message about the fate of a species when populations become isolated. Our mission was to find the monkeys, tell their story through the voice of the local researcher, and create a portrait of the stunning biodiversity of this threatened area. We had 8 days to do it. Without the help of the...
Photo Finds – June 4, 2012: Michael Cali

Photo Finds – June 4, 2012: Michael Cali

Welcome to Photo Finds, a feature where we point you to some of the best photography around the web. When I picked wedding and portrait photographer Michael Cali as the person I wanted to talk about in today’s Photo Finds feature, I didn’t remember right away that he and last week’s Photo Finds photographer, Brad Moore, had something pretty significant in common. Both Brad and Michael have served as assistants to one of the most amazing photographers alive today, Joe McNally. Brad is his former assistant (he works for Scott Kelby now) and Mike is Joe’s current assistant. I first came across Cali’s (apparently, everyone calls him that) work via Zack Arias’ blog, where he mentioned that Cali had been shooting with the Fuji X-Pro1 lately. So I followed the link to Cali’s blog and ended up spending a good hour there, just going through his images. So here’s something interesting to note about Michael Cali. The Fuji X-Pro1 notwithstanding, one cool thing to know about Michael is that he’s a film shooter. Yep, that’s right. The assistant to Joe McNally, who shot National Geographic’s first digital cover, who was among the elite that got to work with Nikon’s D4 before its release, that photographer’s assistant is primarily a film shooter. The thing is, to peg him as a “film shooter” is to sell him grotesquely short. Michael Cali is a photographer – and he’s a damned good one. Film happens to be his medium of choice, but if you look at his images with the X-Pro1, you’ll quickly see that his photography transcends a particular medium. He’s not a...